A masters court ruling on vaccine safety has medical experts pleased but some autism advocates still doubting the science. This issue presents a challenge for medical professionals because it is difficult to overcome conspiracy theorist who constantly doubt any government findings.
Those who are vaccine/autism-correlation advocates state that their child’s autism came about as a result of vaccinations with the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) and/or vaccines containing the mercury based vaccine preservative, Thimerosol.
Correlation Does Not Equal Causation
The key issue that puzzles the public is the fact that correlation does not mean causation. Because the onset of signs of autism happens in early toddlerhood at roughly the same time as children are getting vaccines or boosters, it is easy for parents to draw the mistaken conclusion that the vaccine caused the autism.
Others in the public point to the increased numbers of autism cases diagnosed in recent years and point to modern vaccines as the cause, even though modern vaccines have reduced thimerosol levels compared to the original vaccines. This situation challenges patient educators because it is difficult to overcome parent’s fears and protective natures when it comes to their children, especially when it comes to child diseases that many don’t see as a threat anymore.
Nurses Must Educate Parents
Nurses and other patient educators need to redouble their efforts in providing the information parents need to make an INFORMED decision regarding their child’s vaccinations. Provide them with the overwelming evidence from numerouse studies that have found no direct relationship between these vaccines and autism.
As Amanda Guyton, a mother of a 6-year-old boy with autism stated, “We’re ready for them to get on real research like educational strategies and help for kids,” she said. “An awful lot of money and effort and time were spent on vaccines when three or four studies said no, there isn’t a link.”
I urge all nurses and nursing students to read the articles and related vaccine research in order to present a unified approach to parent and public education in providing everyone with the facts about vaccines and the real dangers of a resurgence in the dangerous childhood illnesses they prevent.